Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Centenary Tour of Tolkien's East Yorkshire

On Saturday, 13th May 2017, two Norwegian Tolkien scholars, two Tolkien Society members from Liverpool and Birmingham respectively, and 2 interlopers from East Yorkshire were guided around all the East Yorkshire Tolkien locations to see where Tolkien went and follow in his footsteps as far as is possible.  I believe that they were most impressed by the beauty of the Cow Parsley under the trees in Roos churchyard, and they could understand why it impressed Tolkien so much.  Unfortunately, this is not a universal view, as a new gardener had to be restrained from cutting back the Cow Parsley until after our visit, and it seems unlikely that it will look as pristine as we saw it, as very soon much of it will be trimmed back in the churchyard.  Many people who are not aware of the Tolkien connection, simply see the Cow Parsley as “untidy”, especially when a burial or wedding is pending.  If the Tolkien connection was more widely known in the local community then perhaps more of the beauty would be allowed to remain for a lengthier period every year.
Cow Parsley and fresh Beech leaves in Roos Churchyard
The tour started in Hull at the former Brooklands Officers' Hospital.  Tolkien spent nearly 22 weeks there in total during the two summers and Autumn on 1917 and 1918.  It was here that he was able to spend a long time developing his fictional languages, and writing the first versions of 'The Tale of Tinuviel' and 'The Tale of Turumbar'.  
Tolkien Plaque on former Brooklands Officers' Hospital (c) 2017 Tim Bolton
 Rear of former Brooklands Officers' Hospital
Tolkien would have been housed in the left room on the ground floor (c) 2017 Tim Bolton
Art Nouveau window design still present
We then went on to Hornsea, to see Edith's lodgings and the erroneous blue plaque.  
Hornsea Blue Plaque containing two errors (c) 2017 Tim Bolton
Then on to the highlight of the trip the area around Roos Church and Dents Garth, the place where Edith almost certainly danced and sang for her husband, which was the inspiration for Luthien Tinuviel.  For more information on Tolkien's connections with Roos please see here
All Saints' Church, Roos
 Three-trunked linden-tree behind "Thew" Gravestone
 Fresh Green Beech leaves & Cow Parsley in Roos churchyard
 Cow Parsley under three-trunked linden-tree
 Three-trunked Linden-tree
 "Candles" on Horse Chestnut in Roos Churchyard
 Cow Parsley leading to Roos Church and three-trunked-tree
 Cow Parsley leading to three-trunked tree
 Fresh Beech leaves surrounded by Cow Parsley
 Cow Parsley under Beech  
 Frothiest Cow Parsley similar to Tolkien's description
 Beech leaves and Cow Parsley
 Cow Parsley bordering new Roos Churchyard
 Cow Parsley along Churchyard perimeter path (c) 2017 Tim Bolton
 Cow Parsley flower head aka Queen Anne's Lace
 Beech Tree and Cow Parsley
 "Light as Leaves on Linden-tree"
 Cow Parsley around "Thew" gravestone 
 Wild Flowers at base of three-trunked Linden-tree
Watch Tower on Roos Church (c) 2017 Tim Bolton
 Sykes Family Crest leading down to crypt (c) 2017 Tim Bolton
 "Thew" Gravestone (c) 2017 Tim Bolton
We stopped off briefly at Halsham to look at evidence of Roman Catholicism, the Mausoleum and a former Word War 1 hut, now used as a village hall.
 Halsham Mausoleum (c) 2017 Tim Bolton
 Former WW1 Accommodation hut (c) 2017 Tim Bolton
 Side of former WW1 hut
We shared cars to Thirtle Bridge where the layout of  the former army camp was explained.
Former site of Thirtle Bridge Army Camp (c) 2017 Tim Bolton
We then made our way to Withernsea.  Approximately halfway there the former Black Mill was pointed out. A military checkpoint  was placed here when Tolkien was in the area.  In this photo the white tower of Withernsea lighthouse can also be seen on the right.
Withernsea Lighthouse
 76 Queen Street site of Edith's lodgings 1917 (c) 2017 Tim Bolton
 Pier "castles" near Withernsea Beach (c) 2017 Tim Bolton
The final journey was to Kilnseas via Easington where Tolkien spent the winter of 1917/18.  Here. he would have come across plenty of evidence of the destructive power of the sea, which was to become a major theme of his developing mythology.
Acoustic Mirror at Kilnsea
 Former Kilnsea beacon, present when Tolkien was there
 Former Kilnsea church before disappearing under the sea
 Evidence on wall of Blue bell of sea's destructive power
At around 5pm it was time to share cars back to Hull, and people's hotels.

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